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Former Twins outfielder Josh Willingham retires from baseball


Former Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham officially announced his retirement on Monday.

Willingham spent the majority of his final three seasons with the Twins (2012-14), but was traded to Kansas City at the end of last year to provide the Royals some extra pop in their lineup for a playoff run.

The Royals eventually lost in the World Series to San Francisco. It was Willingham's first and only trip to the postseason during his 11-year career.

During those 11 seasons, Willingham played for the Marlins, Athletics, Nationals, Royals and Twins.

He signed a three-year, $21-million contract with the Twins before the 2012 season. That season he hit .260 with 35 home runs in 145 games, but he struggled to stay healthy during his final two seasons in Minnesota.

Pro Baseball Talk reports that Willingham played just 203 games in 2013-14 and hit just .211.

"After praying on my decision many times and talking to my wife, my father and ex-players who have gone through the same process toward the end of their careers, I have decided to retire," Willingham told ESPN.

According to ESPN, Willingham said he turned down a substantial offer from a contending team and decided to retire.

"I felt like it wouldn't be fair to myself, and more importantly to the team that was paying me a lot of money to perform at a high level, if there was a chance my dedication would waver – particularly as the season got longer. I'm honored to have played for as many years as I have, and I feel even luckier to walk away on my own terms instead of having the decision made for me," Willingham added.

He finishes his career with 195 career homers and posted an OPS above .800 every season from 2006-2012.

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